One of the big questions that's been going around of late has been just how much better next-gen versions of current-gen games look, and whether or not it's worth taking the jump. To help you come to an answer, we've stuck a bunch of Xbox 360 footage from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag next to similar footage from the PS4 version of the game.
Throughout the summer and autumn, developers were banging about how working with next-gen consoles has allowed for better current-gen games too thanks to scalable engines. This is particularly evident in AC4 thanks to the refined AnvilNext engine. With both versions side by side, it's clear that the superior processing power and graphical grunt of the PS4 allows for more consistent, varied effects (particularly when it comes to weather and lighting), and much sharper detail. By contrast, the current-gen version looks like it has a softness filter on it to smooth out the rough edges and literally gloss over graphical issues. That's not to say that the Xbox 360 version looks bad -- on the contrary, AC4 is a gorgeous game regardless of platform -- but players can more fully appreciate the level of detail that has gone into the game's art direction on next-gen platforms, something I touched upon in my review.
The shadows are no longer spongy, indistinct ink blots, and that feeling of lacking solidity is replaced by a game world made rather more tangible by essentially focusing the camera. Lines are cleaner, background items and objects more clearly realised and rendered. You won't necessarily lose anything by getting this game on current-gen systems, both versions are feature-complete; but I've found the PS4 version to be more immersive simply because I've played both. Everything is just that little bit more immediate in terms of aesthetics, a little more crisp and clean and clear.Click here to read more...
Here's yet another chance to get hold of the latest Rayman game for the £20 mark. This deal from Ubisoft's official store will save you over a fiver compared to the next cheapest deal elsewhere.
As Jon put it in his review, "Rayman Legends isn't just one of the best platformers we've seen in twenty years, but one of the very best games." For £20 that's pretty good going, I'd say. Thanks to gmac @HUKD!
Platforms: Xbox One
Oh Kinect. When you first emerged we were so excited. Well, sort of. We dreamed of 1-1 connections between our physical bodies and the virtual simulacra that appeared upon the screens before us. Imagine, we thought to ourselves, if we could do a Hadouken and have our avatars do the same with no delay or lag or hideous crashing. Wouldn't that be great?
And then Fighters Uncaged came along and slapped us in the face with a hard dose of reality by being utterly horrible and quite possibly the worst fighting game ever made, and yes that includes Clayfighter 63 1/3. Kill it, we cried. Kill it with fire.
Still, here comes Daoka with another swing at things and, guess what! Fighter Within isn't awful.Click here to read more...
Rayman Legends is hands-down one of the best games of 2013. No, scratch my last.
Rayman Legends is hands-down one of the best games of this generation. This superb platformer surprisingly doesn't feel lacking without the Wii U's touchscreen functionality, which actually isn't anywhere near as fun as the fast and fantastic thumbstick-powered action itself. £16.00 is an utter bargain. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD for the GAME link!
Click here to read more...
Xbox One's Kinect sensor is capable of an extraordinary level of fidelity and resolution, down to recognising facial expressions. Theodor Diea, international product manager for Just Dance 2014, explained to us that Ubisoft have actually experimented with a range of ways to take advantage of this enhanced accuracy - including some bizarre achievement rewards.
Platforms: PC | PS4 (tested) | Xbox One | PS3 | Xbox 360 (tested)
Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
Apologies to those of you who've followed my writing on Assassin's Creed over the last couple of years as I'm going to repeat myself a little bit here, but for those of you coming into this review in need of a little context, here's the beef: Assassin's Creed III was a sprawling, clunky, overstretched, uneven adventure with a dull central character and too many diffuse game components that failed to come together to present an engaging, cohesive world. There was little freedom, too much linearity in a paradoxically gigantic world, a lack of verticality (the first thing anyone does in AC is climb the nearest tall steeple or spire), and an abandoning of the thing that had made the franchise great. The key has always been in the title: we want to assassinate people.
Thankfully, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag does much to bring stalking one's prey however you like back in a big way.
We'll get to the pirate stuff itself, but let's look at how the more familiar elements to the series have been tweaked up and expanded upon for this game. The best things from Assassin's Creed III -- things like running assassinations, the wide variety of darts, and treetop parkour -- have all returned. But now there's verticality to go with that. Not on the scale of the urban hives of activity that Rome and Constantinople and the Crusader cities presented to us, but enough to warrant more than enough rooftop hopping.Click here to read more...
Assassin's Creed Liberation HD | Ubisoft | £10.79 (save £5)
Voucher Code: 10thanks
Out next January. Thanks to Jas10 @ HUKD!
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Man, I suck at the guitar. This wasn't always the case, mind you. I used to know my way around a fretboard relatively well (relative to a donkey) in younger years. To this day, Jon and I will reminisce about that time we had back at uni when a few friends came round and we managed to jam out a 17-minute long mashup of Phantom of the Opera and Knights of Cydonia with several guitars, a keytar, and a penny whistle. It was awesome.
How awesome? We'll never know. We were drunk and we've never been able to replicate it sober.
The reason I tell you this is because it's important that you know I went into Rocksmith 2014 having not practised in years, with the soft fingertips of a mediocre stringsmith who hadn't picked up an axe in months, and who was never especially brilliant to begin with. To this day, I still struggle with barre chords and making my little finger do anything besides hovering around uselessly.
Several weeks after spending time in the company of Rocksmith, however, and I'm making severe progress.Click here to read more...
The final touches are being applied to our AssFlag review, but here are five reasons why Black Flag marks a return to form after the somewhat divisive AC3...
Pirates will always be cool. The Romanticising of buccaneers and privateers-turned-pirates presents a fantastic opportunity for an open world game. When I spoke to lead writer Darby McDevitt back at Gamescom a few months ago, he'd said that this was a story he'd always wanted to write, and that the decision to tell the Kenway family saga led to a situation where the dates fell nicely into place.
It's not difficult to see why the time period and location make for a cracking setting for an open world title. For starters, the systemic nature of Ubisoft's world-building in AnvilNext makes for an ocean packed with targets, dangers, and opportunity. The Tropics make for versatile settings, with bustling ports and dense jungles often sharing a single island.Click here to read more...
Our review is due early next week but, in the interim, here's a little look at a segment relatively early on in the game in which Edward Kenway, our swashbuckling protagonist, links up with famed pirate Ben Hornigold to run down a few Spanish ships. We take a look at the new and improved naval combat systems in Ubisoft's latest Assassin's Creed adventure, and deliver an early verdict on proceedings.Click here to read more...
The Wii U isn't the only platform getting downloadable Ubisoft deals this weekend. GOG have a veritable selection of golden oldies for your perusal, including the Might & Magic series, Settlers franchise and Prince Of Persia at a 60% saving. More grist for your ever-increasing game backlog, perhaps?
In response to community feedback, Ubisoft have scrapped the Uplay Passport scheme (their version of the online pass) - and even removed it wholesale from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
Good.Click here to read more...
South Park: The Stick Of Truth is no longer coming out this year, with Ubisoft pushing the anticipated Obsidian-developed RPG back into Spring 2014. The publisher claims that the project required an "overhaul" when they acquired it from THQ, which has led to numerous delays.Click here to read more...
The review is underway (we're aiming for Friday), but in the interim here's some Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag gameplay footage for you. We've captured the first quarter of an hour of Edward Kenway's story, which manages to pack in a naval skirmish, some tropical free-running, and chasing down a sailor so we can steal his stuff.Click here to read more...
The Crew is set to let us race through a massive open world on next-gen consoles and PC, at least, when it finally releases. To find out more about the ambitious proposition, I sat down with product manager Charles-Arthur Bourget earlier this year to learn more about what the exciting project has to offer - both in terms of raw scale and its innovative attempt to move the boundary between singleplayer and multiplayer.
Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): When The Crew was first announced at E3 2013, it very looked exciting, but was rather difficult to pin down. So perhaps most importantly of all: what is The Crew?
Charles-Arthur Bourget (Ubisoft): What we started with when we first starting developing the game is to recreate the entire USA. So we started with a huge playground to play with, and a lot of variety in that playground. The map is actually 5000km², it features a lot of different environments. So not only can you do your classic illegal street racing in the busy city centres, but you could also go offroad through the forests, on dunes, in the desert, there's pretty much no restriction when it comes to driving around.
So when we say it's an open world, we take it very seriously. It's for you to decide where you want to go.Click here to read more...